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State of Nevada admits defeat and will not defend ban on gay couples marrying

  • jlvnv

    “to defend the ban in the courts is pointless if gay people can serve on the jury that will decide on the case.”

    That is not an accurate representation of why the Attorney General is dropping defense of the case. After the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a ruling on SmithKline which held that a prospective gay juror was not empaneled because of sexual orientation, the court ruled that heightened scrutiny applies to sexual orientation. The AG’s brief in the Nevada case was saying that only “rational basis” for scrutiny was to apply. The SmithKline ruling blew the NV AG’s defense out of the water.

    My husband-to-be can’t wait to be married in our hometown of Las Vegas, sooner than later.

    • Montezuma58

      Agreed. The arguments were already tenuous when viewed under rational basis tests. No way they would survive heightened scrutinity. In the case in the 10th circuit for Utah, the state is unwittingly inviting heightened scrutiny with their insistence on “gender complimentary” parenting. At least Nevada has seen the writing on the wall. Never mind that there are no juries in appellate courts.

    • James

      Presumably this case would not be decided by a jury anyway.

      Though can’t the SmithKline case still be appealed to the 9th Circuit en banc and/or the Supreme Court, who might reject heightened scrutiny? It sounds like this decision might really have been made for political rather than legal reasons. The (Republican) Governor is up for re-election this year, and a clear majority of people in Nevada support SSM. The state legislature is in the process of amending the state constitution to remove the ban anyway – if they vote in favour again next year, there will be a referendum in 2016, which could be helpful to Democratic candidates standing that year.

  • Steve_R

    One also has to wonder if the statement on a Federal level “US Attorney General Eric Holder says the US Government will recognize equal marriage regardless of individual states’ position.” wasn’t also a warning shot across the bow! The cost of legal challenges, not to mention possible humiliating defeat to the state and a persons career might be an influential (unstated) factor not to proceed.

  • Truth

    … if only all other bigoted states would do the same instead of wasting millions of tax dollars on futile law suits.

    • I think it’s great, they’ve already lost, equality is winning, if they want to waste their public’s money on these pointless battles then it’s only going to turn more of their citizens against them.
      In a few months there are going to be a few stories coming out about how these Republican religious fu*kwits squandered millions of $’s knowing that it was a pointless fight, and this will further erode any trust the American public has in their Tea Party fanatics.

      Silver lining and all that ;)

  • Jones

    I’m sure denying someone the right to love is unconstitutional, isn’t it?

  • Cal

    The ‘gay jury’ idea is a bit odd. What are the chances of having members of such small minority on the jury?? But congratulations, Nevada. I worked in Vegas for a while. That city will benefit hugely from Gay weddings.

    • James

      This article presents the connection with gay jurors in quite a misleading way. The outcome of this appeal will be decided by judges, not jurors. However, there was a recent case (SmithKline v Abbott Laboratories) in which a man was struck from a jury apparently because he was gay, and on appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal (the same court that will decide this case), it was ruled for the first time that differences in treatment by the government based on sexual orientation should be subject to “heightened scrutiny”, just like gender. This strongly suggests that the court would rule in favour of same-sex marriage.

      However, I believe the SmithKline case is still being appealed, and higher courts could take up the case and decide against “heightened scrutiny”. The politics of this are quite complicated. The Democratic Attorney General had been defending the ban very forcefully, had been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism, and said she was rethinking her position. The Republican Governor is up for reelection this year in an increasingly Democratic state where most people support same-sex marriage. The state legislature is in the process of repealing the ban anyway, though this would require a statewide referendum.

  • Fjalur


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